WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
While they have a lot of competitors in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in lots of methods -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website contractors, the hosting industry has ended up being a super-confusing place.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all differ in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
Then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Generally, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a higher price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, but as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting options.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, generally with user-generated evaluations based on anecdotes and individual experience. That’s great but I take a different method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting alternatives to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
I’ve utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my main websites right now (see conclusion), but I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as pros and cons.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & opinion is based on my experience as a paying consumer or consultant to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To start, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they assure “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class client service.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more intricate your site is, the more complicated the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few basic plugins and a couple of little images, you’ll be great with an economical shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, advertisements, types and more.
All these features combined with good levels of traffic can start to slow down your WordPress set up.
But a sluggish website does not imply that you require a bigger, better server. It does imply that you have to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching particular resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to carry a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep complaining that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs aid to stay quick as you grow. There are a lot of solutions … however either you or a designer need to execute them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (nearly) all speed concerns. They have tailored servers with incredibly aggressive caching as well as advanced “stack” than a typical webhosting. They also have actually trained support who will go into your WordPress set up and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
They don’t even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a tailored caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still succeed on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, additional scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to begin packing the page.
It’s good to have that kind of speed right out of package, and have it stay that method no matter how big or intricate the site gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services given that you are complimentary to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an incorporated CDN, but they likewise supply global data centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they were founded. After all, they are truly offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my very first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the hard aspect of customer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, however you never ever know if the story is since they spoke to the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as an investment or an expense.
I want to look for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 require an investment of loan, time and knowledge.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better hitting all three boxes. They keep a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the site by means of chat.
Based on their tutorial videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my customer has actually engaged with in fact understood the fine operations of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most excellent (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The rep was not only able to get on (and stay on) the phone, however he was able to expertly help us “flip the switch” quickly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,specifically because their customized platform puts a lot of pressure on fast, available support (as I’ll display in the downsides). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
But there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security essentials are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll observe that although security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things secure. Similar to having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your site protected is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something happens. Because you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security problems worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works closely with leading security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They likewise make the assurance that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), however have helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, laborious & a generally costly situation (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Startup strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only as much as 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, dependable VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same cost from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars per month.
Both of which allow for more storage & more sees (ie, generally as numerous as you can manage) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have had 60k sees monthly on a shared server. I’ve likewise run dozens of little WordPress websites off a low cost shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the important things.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by overall value & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their prices is amazing.
Just running WordPress updates each month & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any visits due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not use a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire monthly cost right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or designer time fixing issues.
Generally, if your time is better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than a cost.
And that sort of value-based prices segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of consumers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first customer type appears to be WordPress designers and designers who want to focus on development & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some spending plan. The designer/dev builds the site directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can guarantee their customer that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing basic website upkeep. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The 2nd consumer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to move to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some budget for managed services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & consumer support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is an essential aspect, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them fix it.”
The 3rd consumer type is a startup site owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable finding out WP Engine’s unique backend and plan on introducing a near-complete site simultaneously.
They don’t have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and supply support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are coming from, many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, user-friendly backend, and so on.
This advantage resembles WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation modification. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
WP Engine stands out not only on present functions however also on developing brand-new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer features that WP Engine has had the ability to incorporate.
Even general web development best practices have altered drastically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand adequate web advancement to integrate best practices into execution & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has actually been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are plenty of WP Engine problems around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of stand since they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some consumers. I don’t utilize them for this website due to the fact that I do not need a lot of their features and I’m comfortable “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
All that stated, here are some of the bigger image disadvantages of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that difference can be quite complicated– especially if you have just sufficient experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting business, they likewise don’t provide DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can cause some developers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website available to the general public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for incredible support, I believe they ‘d lose more novice customers than they already do.
Like numerous custom platforms, it makes sense once you get over the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
Here is their video on pushing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I had to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom backend isn’t really going to be a big offer (when you get past the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to learn very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
But here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever truly stops being quirky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to help troubleshoot all sorts of problems.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply look after all of it.
However, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you do not technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a managed VPS), you do not need to do it anyhow, when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to minimizing & increasing intricacy.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be somewhat uniform.
They need to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable usage cases. Every hosting business has rules (or extremely genuine physical limitations), but WP Engine goes a bit additional to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage usage.
They do ban certain plugins & admin behavior for great reasons, but those restrictions limit adaptability and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For example, Yet Another Related Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller websites, it gets the job done well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad necessarily. But it does make WP Engine less versatile and open to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured enables less versatility also. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of gos to.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal service; or just want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll need to element extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can manage a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Company. And this point goes further if your website needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are looking to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automated email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & ended up having to do a painful migration to another e-mail supplier mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon features.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are generally paying for performance & not having to believe excessive about maintenance, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based on the features you’re getting, you really do not get a lot.
And if you are the type who will think of your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in frequently), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unnecessary. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins
Lots of shared hosting servers can deal with the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting plan from HostGator with standard caching) dealt with more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour duration when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count check outs, but it can still be rather a surprise for “little” site owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that doesn’t even consist of much of the features you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on regional storage. Anything above the limits requires extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most importantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side tasks or low-traffic test websites, you have to factor those into the cost. You can’t utilize them to spread out the cost of your strategy,particularly if you are hitting your visitor cap instead of your set up cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey choice, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best general, however exactly what is best for you based upon your objectives, spending plan, resources & routines.
If you remain in what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a terrific service with a strong item. Their prices is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic websites that don’t wish to fret about hosting issues.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Be sure to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more flexibility/ better costs than WP Engine, take a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS choice. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer service.
And last but not least, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque test to simplify things. Wp Engine Recommended Plugins